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n. pl. bys·sus·es or bys·si (bĭs′ī′)
1. Zoology A mass of strong, silky filaments by which certain bivalve mollusks, such as mussels, attach themselves to rocks and other fixed surfaces.
2. A fine-textured linen of ancient times, used by the Egyptians for wrapping mummies.

[Middle English bissus, linen cloth, from Latin, from Greek bussos, linen; akin to Sanskrit picuḥ, cotton (of Dravidian origin), or ultimately from Egyptian w'ḏ, linen.]

bys′sal (bĭs′əl) adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl byssuses or byssi (ˈbɪsaɪ)
(Zoology) a mass of strong threads secreted by a sea mussel or similar mollusc that attaches the animal to a hard fixed surface
[C17: from Latin, from Greek bussos linen, flax, ultimately of Egyptian origin]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈbɪs əs)

n., pl. bys•sus•es, bys•si (ˈbɪs aɪ)
1. a collection of silky filaments by which certain mollusks attach themselves to rocks.
2. an ancient cloth, thought to be of linen, cotton, or silk.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek býssos a fine cotton or linen < Semitic]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.byssus - tuft of strong filaments by which e.g. a mussel makes itself fast to a fixed surfacebyssus - tuft of strong filaments by which e.g. a mussel makes itself fast to a fixed surface
fiber, fibre - a slender and greatly elongated substance capable of being spun into yarn
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
He did not carry away more than ten at each plunge, for he was obliged to pull them from the bank to which they adhered by means of their strong byssus. And how many of those oysters for which he risked his life had no pearl in them!
As we examined a clump of blue mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis planulatus stranded at the high tide mark by recent heavy seas, I observed the rear end and leg of a crustacean in the dark murky recess of a dead bivalve, Barbatia pistachio, attached to the mussels by a byssus thread.
Pour l'instant, "on n'a trouve aucune parade", indique le biologiste marin francais Nardo Vicente, de l'institut d'oceanographie Paul-Ricard, specialiste de ce coquillage dont la fine barbe, le byssus, aurait servi, selon la legende, a tisser la celebre Toison d'or de l'Antiquite grecque.
This pair of ganglia have twice the size of the cerebral and visceral ganglia, and are located at the base of the pedal organ (foot) attached to the first pair of anterior retractor muscles of the byssus. From each ganglion emerges the pedal nerves, which penetrate to the posterior pedal retractor muscles and enter the foot.
Correlations between shell metrics [shell height (SH); hinge length (HL)] and byssus size [byssus length (BL) and byssus diameter (BD)] to mobility are also recorded and analyzed.
Mollusks response to contamination, relative to their mobility, to avoid an adverse condition (escape and attraction) such as some mussels when released from their byssus (anchor structure), in the presence of irritants or marine gastropods are attracted to areas with a high content of organic matter.
The expensive cloth was woven from rare 'sea silk' fiber that had been taken from the whiskers of a mollusk called 'byssus.' The veil is transparent, with the beautiful image of the face of Jesus remaining clearly visible whether viewed from the front or the back.
The proceedings, comprising 17 papers, discuss such topics as byssus and sea silk: a linguistic problem with consequences, dyeing wool and sea silk with purple pigment from Hexaplex trunculus, sacred colors, purple textiles in Greek sanctuaries in the second half of the first millennium BC, purple wars: fishing rights and political conflicts concerning the production of marine dyes in Hellenistic Greece, and Purpurarii in the western Mediterranean.
Most of the forms are completely sedentary remaining attached to hard substrata by thread-like byssus of the foot or by one of their shell valves.
Mussels secrete a glue-like sticky material, known as byssus, which is responsible for the strong adhesion to rocks and other surfaces in turbulent marine environment [6].
Bivalves fixed by byssus or those cemented by shells prefer such offshore biotope.